Will Smith might be the very best at bringing genuinely hilarious humor to intense action films without making them feel like comedies. His jokes never cause a movie to lose its intensity, but bring a human-quality to it.
It’s a skill that fits in perfectly with Bright–a film about humans and fantasy creatures, like Orcs and Elves, living together on Earth. Smith plays Daryl Ward, a street cop who is partners with an Orc named Nick Jakoby (Joel Edgerton).
Jakoby is the country’s first Orc police officer. In this version of America, Orcs are considered low-class scum. Jakoby is hated by humans for being an Orc, and he’s ostracized by other Orcs for “selling out”.
The dialogue throughout the film is extremely smart. It’s like a more on-the-nose Blade Runner–and much more relatable. Because of that, you reflect on it a little bit more within the context of your own life.
The themes are heavy-handed, but not as preachy as you would think. It shows issues with racism from all sides, causing the entire audience to be self-reflective without evoking any hate or bitterness for either side.
To make the story even more interesting, it gives us a lot more to play with in terms of subplot and lore, so we can see perhaps another film set in this universe–either a sequel or a spinoff.
This is peak Will Smith–on par with anything he did back in the ’90s. Bright is easily Smith’s best movie in over 10 years.